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    An examination of the nature of language through its structural building-blocks, analysing sounds, words and sentences of English and other languages. No prior knowledge of any language other than English is required.

    This paper takes a holistic approach to the study of linguistic structure. It combines syntax and phonology in order to provide a broad view, clearly showing the connections and similarities between the levels of structure. Examples from English and many other languages illustrate the diversity among languages of the world, while also highlighting the many aspects they have in common.

    About this paper

    Paper title What's Behind Language: Sound and Structure
    Subject Linguistics
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    LING 111
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Teaching staff

    Dr Simon Overall

    Paper Structure

    Classes focus on phonology for the first half of semester, then on morphology and syntax for the second half. Internal assessment consists of two assignments and two written reports, and there is a final two-hour exam.

    Teaching Arrangements

    Thirteen lectures and twelve tutorials. Tutorials give students the opportunity to discuss and apply the skills learned in lectures.


    No required text, readings will be assigned.

    Recommended texts:

    Tallerman, Maggie. 2015. Understanding Syntax, 4th edition. Routledge.

    Hayes, Bruce. 2009. Introductory Phonology. Blackwell.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:

    • Recognise the principles underlying linguistic structure
    • Describe and analyse linguistic structures using an established metalanguage and set of conventions
    • Distinguish among competing analyses according to descriptive adequacy and analytic rigour
    • Think critically about their own and others’ opinions of language use


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22
    Thursday 15:00-15:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 10-13, 15-22
    A2 Monday 14:00-14:50 10-13, 15-22
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